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hard on the Hebrews, but it may be questioned
whether in this passage Mr. Webbe has not
forgotten a prefatory protest that "in this
booke there is nothing mentioned or expressed
but that which is of truth: and what mine own
eies have perfectly seene."

During Webbe's campaigning with the Turks
in Asia, he asserts that they waged war with
that doubtful entity "Prester lohn," of whose
court he gives an account which is strongly
suggestive of the worthy narrator having been an
ancestor of the veracious Baron Munchausen.
The story is curious enough to be worth
quotation. ''This Prester lohn," writes Webbe,
"is a king of great power and keepeth a very
beautifull court, after the manner of that
cuntrey, and hath every day to serve him at
his table, sixty kinges wearing leaden crownes
on their heads, and those serve in the meat
vnto Prester lohn's table: and continually the
first dish of meat set vpon his table is a dead
man's scull, cleane picked, and laide in black
earth: putting him in minde that he is but
earth, and that he must die, and shal become
earth againe." The appetites must have been
sharp set that were not scared away by such a
ghastly reminder. "In this Court of Prester
lohn there is a wilde man, and an other in the
high street at Constantinople whose allowance
is every day a quarter of raw mutton; and
when any man dyeth for some notorious offence,
then are they allowed every day a quarter of
man's flesh. These wilde men are chained fast
to a post every day, the one in Prester lohn's
Court, and the other in the high street of
Constantinople, each of them having a mantel cast
about their shoulders, and all over their bodies
they have wonderfull long haire, they are
chained fast by the neck, and will speedily
devoure any man that cometh in their reach.
There is also a beast in the Court of Prester
lohn called arians, having four heads; they are
in shape like a wilde cat, and are of the height of
a great mastif dog. In this court, likewise, there
is foules caled pharses, foules whose feathers
are very beautifull to be worne, these foules
are as big as a turkie, their flesh is very sweet,
and their feathers of all manner of collours.
There is swannes in that place, which are as
lardge again as the swannes of Englande are,
and their feathers are as blew as any blew
cloath. I have seen in a place like a park,
adjoining vnto Prester lohn's Court, three score
and seventeene unicorns and elephants, all alive
at one time, and they were so tame that I have
played with them as one would play with
young lambes. When Prester lohn is served
at his table, there is no salt at all set one [on],
in any salt cellar as in other places, but a loafe
of bread is cut crosse, and then two knives are
layde acrosse vpon the loafe, and some salt
put vpon the blades of the knives and no
more.' This last little bit of commonplace
about the great Presbyter's table service is
rather in the manner of De Foe, and casts an
imposing air of truthfulness over the romancing
in which the story-teller has just previously

After his Asiatic campaigning was over, and
Webbe had returned to slavery and wretchedness
in Constantinople, he made an attempt to
escape with five hundred of his fellow-captives.
Their plan was "to breake a wall of fourteen
foote broad, made of earth, lyme, and sand,
which we greatly moistened with strong vinegar"
(Webbe must have read of Hannibal's chemical
experiment on the Alpine masses) "so that the
wall being made moist there with through the
help of a spike of yron five hundred of vs had
almost escaped out of prison." But the attempt
was frustrated by the barking of a dog, more
vigilant than its masters, and Webbe and his
companions were dragged back to captivity by
their jailers, "who gave vs," he reports with
rueful humour, "in recompence of our paines
taking herein, seaven hundred blowes a peece
upon the naked skinne, viz. three hundred on
the belly, and foure hundred on the back."
Release at length came through the intervention
of "Maister Harborne, ambassadour to
Constantinople for the Company of Marchants,"
and Webbe set out overland for England, eager
to visit the place of his birth after an absence
of upwards of twelve years passed in
slavery to the unbeliever.

His journey home exposed him to almost as
much hardship and persecution as he had
encountered at the hands of the Turks. It was
customary in Catholic countries in those days
to roast perverse heretics in honour of the true
religion, and Webbe was more than once in
peril of the stake. At Venice he was accused
of being a "hereticke," but contrived to get
out of the difficulty by paying a fine of fifteen
crowns towards finishing the Virgin's shrine at
Padua; and had the satisfaction of having his
accuser "an Englishman who lived in the state
of a Frier," punished for bearing false witness.
By the Duke of Ferrara he was "wel entertained
and liberally rewarded with a horse and
five and twentie crownes for the sake of the
Queenes Maiestie of England."  In Rome
Webbe continued "nineteene daies in trouble
with the Pope and the English Cardinall Doctor
Allen, a notable Arch papist," but these high
authorities ultimately allowed him to pass, and,
understanding that he had been a long time
captive in Turkey, generously gave him twenty-
five crowns. His troubles in the Eternal City
were not over, however. Before he left he was
again taken this time by "ye English Colledge,"
and "put there into the holy house 3
daies with a fooles coate on my backe halfe blew,
half yellowe, and a cockes combe with three
bels on my head, from whence I was holpen by
means of an Englishman whom I found there,
and presented my petition and cause to the
Pope, who again set me at libertie."

Proceeding to Naples, Webbe was once more
overtaken by the ill-fortune which so persistently
followed him by sea and land. A Genoese
apprehended him and brought him before the
viceroy on a charge of being "a man of great
knowledge and an English spie." On this
information the authorities consigned Webbe "to
a darke Dungeon xvi daies" while inquiry was
made into his antecedents. The investigation
does not seem to have satisfied his Neapolitan